Title to the tune of row, row, row your boat.
So. I had written most of the post below (and the title and sentence above) at the end of February, when I was feeling like I had more energy to finally restart blogging and commit to making more art. But I didn’t want to post it until I finished creating a light theme for my blog (and let us leave aside this tried-and-true procrastination method for now); this retro-terminal-dark-mode one had been bothering me lately, though I couldn’t put my finger on why exactly it felt constraining. So the post waited a bit while I thought about a new layout for a couple weeks.
And then…and then, as we all know, the world changed. I’d read news here and there in February of COVID-19, but it didn’t really hit home until cases began to rise here in Madison, WI.
My job transitioned to remote on March 16th. I happened to be remote on Friday, March 13th, so I suppose that’s when my isolation started. Thankfully, I do have my partner/long-time boyfriend that I live with, so I have some company at home. I am immensely thankful my job as a web developer lends itself so smoothly to remote work. It’s an odd sense of anxiety of how things will work out, while I feel cramped in a one-bedroom apartment with a tiny balcony. I have tried to put aside the constant worry for everyone on the front lines, including loved ones in health care and at grocery stores. The worry and anxiety has been eating away at me – every day has been an experiment in how to better cope. It certainly doesn’t help that anxiety has been a decade long struggle for me, mental-health wise.
Well. I felt like that needed to all be said before I could get on with the original art post. And posting is my intention: for to better cope, I need to allow myself to follow my heart’s path as an artist, web designer, and blogger. Thus, here’s the original, pre-March 2020 post about getting back into this whole art/blogging thing.
Original Art Unblocking Post
I wish I could learn to be less afraid of sharing my art and thoughts online, learn to let go of blocking myself from creating a life that would truly be keeping my muse happy. I could learn to stop telling myself that it’s too late, that the window of opportunity has passed to create a worthwhile blog or body of work. It feel so overly melodramatic: after all, artistic ennui isn’t a literal cage. Still, the pain of inaction is part of this strange little journey that I once promised myself I’d document.
My excuses to myself are so half-hearted whenever I put off sitting down to draw or write. I’m too tired from working all day. It’s too late in the evening to pull out my supplies and make a mess. I have housework; I have errands. I need to better plan out what I’m going to draw before I can begin. I only have 15 minutes. I have no worthwhile ideas at the moment and should wait for true inspiration to strike. I simply cannot, not right now, and though I can’t put my finger on why exactly, it would be better to just wait a bit longer to get started on a new art project. It is safer to wait.
These excuses ring hollow when they bounce around my mind, but it’s so much easier to give in, to put my sketchbook aside, to wait to update this blog until I feel more organized and stress free. It stings so much more, when I know I’m finding thin excuses out of fear that I might make art that’s wrong or bad or ugly. Or write a post that’s clumsy and awkward. Heaven forbid that I accidentally create an incoherent, scattered word-salad. What would the neighbors think? Surely all artists throughout time immemorial have been perfectly organized and coherent paragons of productivity. To show any chaos and mess of my own is simply not allowed if I am to be taken seriously.
Silently waiting to somehow build a facade of polished professionalism isn’t why I started this blog, and it’s certainly not joy-inducing to my soul and inner muse. Making art is messy. Learning and honing a craft is chaotic: one has to be willing to go down paths that have only just become apparent. “It’s the journey not the destination”, and, you know, other refrigerator-magnet-esque platitudes. But really, the journey is what I most wish to share, to help inspire others on artistic paths.
It’s only faith that keeps the pencil on the sketchbook page, the finger tips on the keys. Faith and audacity to mark up the void, even if it’s clumsy or inane, awkward or amateurish. My muse is waiting for me to understand that she doesn’t care, she doesn’t mind. She’ll take the clumsy offerings, one and all. She wants the desire, the will, and the act of the artist shaping something into another form. She is patiently waiting for the transformation of the blank page.
I can let go of my fears of doing this whole art-thing wrong. I can bend my inner ear to inspiration and follow where it leads. It’s not safe, it’s probably awful word salad, but it makes something deep inside my heart smile.
Featured photo credit: @suzyhazelwood on Pexels.com